Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Tea

After the tea has been served and the refreshments eaten, there is often a time when the conversation turns to that which is a little deeper than the talk of our favorite books and movies. We know there are a few who are deeply hurting, a couple of others who are rejoicing, one is who concerned about a direction a child is taking, another burdened by a heavy amidst a group of friends.

That is where I have been this week. While not actually taking tea face-to-face with another, there have been phone conversations and the sending of e-mails back and forth...this century's version of the calling card and a visit to the parlor.

My mind has been on the book of Esther a great deal this week. I once spent months (years?) studying that favorite of Old Testament stories when I wrote a Bible study about it and taught the study to women in Michigan and later in Iowa. My mind went back to that study as I listened to Beth Moore this week. Beth was reminding us that we are all meant for "our generation"...our gifts, our background, our mission...our story. It is for such a time as this. Each is unique, each placed where God wants the particular state and the age which God wants them to live.

Around the same time I had been pondering Beth's message, I was thinking about the gifts God gives us. Not found in Corinthians (necessarily) nevertheless. Like my spiritual gift of cookies. I suppose if one absolutely had to trace it back to Biblical origins, it would fall somewhere under the gift of "helps". I can't sing....but I can cook...and bake...better than most people. Yes, the spiritual gift of cookies...and soup...and bread...but especially cookies.

Now, it is always interesting to my husband how I come up with these lines of thinking. Only those who like to ponder can possibly understand...but here goes. I was looking at the top of my refrigerator this week, admiring the changes made when I purchased a vintage tin cake carrier for $1.00 and decided to place it on my refrigerator. I was putting together the new "still life" when Stephanie was in the kitchen with me. It looked pretty, nothing spectacular but...pretty.

She stared at it a moment and then went to another room, coming back with a small, unframed oil painting I had purchased at a garage sale a few weeks earlier. She propped it against the cabinet doors at the back of the refrigerator (which I never use, I'm not tall enough) a background to my "still life". We both stood there and looked a moment, all I could say was "Wow". For you see, I am a good decorator. People come into my home and comment on how pretty and cozy it looks. My daughter, however, is a gifted interior designer. She may not be working as an interior designer these days but that doesn't mean she has lost the gift.

Gifted people see things differently than the average person. Now, I mean no disrespect here, but I can see God throwing in an extra "something" and saying, "BAM!, let's take it up a notch in this area". (For you non-foodies, that is what Emeril says on his cooking shows.) Everyone is gifted in some area. Think of the teacher who inspired your direction in school, or the mechanic who can listen to your car and know exactly what the problem is, or the writer whose words paint a world in such a way you feel you have been there, and the mother or grandmother whose home and kitchen is a if it were untouched by this century. I have met a lot of Sunday school teachers, "men of the cloth", and lay people whose giftedness gave me new inspiration and direction.

When the gift is truly amazing is when it collides with our "Esther moments". There must be fireworks going off somewhere in the Universe when that which only you can do is accomplished. If we were truly sitting around the same dining table, or in overstuffed chairs in a living room, I'd refresh our tea right now (iced if we were outside on my deck), and we'd all share a moment in our life when we knew we were there for such a time as this.

There may be talk of giftedness and what it means in us and others. If we're not too full of sandwiches, scones, and cake...and not in need of a nap...the conversation may grow deeper to chat about changing the world...or at least inspiring our family and friends.

There is so much to think about and ponder...more for another day.

Photo: A website photo of my Royal Albert china pattern...Lavender Rose


Grace said...

I can't think of anything I've read that so accurately sums up the great attraction of both a good pot of tea and good company for bringing out all the best in us.

And just like the first sips of my Afternoon Darjeeling (which I suddenly wish I had made), you've given me something to ponder!

Heather said...

I love this post on the gifts God gives each of us ~It really made me smile!!
Thanks for visiting my blog!! I hope you'll stop back!!

Anonymous said...

I give my brain Sundays off. This topic is too deep for me. I think I'm in need of a nap. :)

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Joanna, see you back on Monday. :)

Susan P. said...

Brenda, oh how I would love to sit and take tea with you! We would have SO much to chat about ~ I think our brains are "wired" the same way and we like to "ponder" on many of the same things! Can you imagine the lively conversations?!!

Adrienne said...

Thank you for your thoughts about God's giftings to us. Sometimes it's easy to forget that He made every detail about us for a reason and at times we diminish His work through us because it's not the same way He works through someone else. Yes, He has given each of us special talents and abilities. I wish we could sit and have tea together - we would have such a great time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your lovely Sunday Afternoon Tea, Earl Grey/Lavender, taken on your front porch in a lavender rose tea cup, along with the lovely scones and sandwiches as we ponder and reflect, and observe that you have the gift of hospitality and encouragement!
Thank you dear Brenda!